Fusion Facility Studies

The Fusion Energy Systems Studies (FESS) initiative has been active since 2014, following the final ARIES Advanced and Conservative Tokamak (ACT) study. These and previous studies concentrated on performing advanced integrated concept definitions for fusion energy applications, which include multi-discipline assessments including neutronics, thermo-mechanics, fluids/coolants, tritium migration, materials, safety, and core and edge plasma.

Typically, more than ten institutions are involved at varying levels of effort. These have provided key high leverage areas for R&D focus in the overall fusion program, ranging from plasma configurations to fusion technologies. In addition, socio-economic studies were explored to understand how fusion would exist in the energy market landscape and to understand utility requirements for such power plant development. Tokamak, stellarator, and field-reversed pinch configurations have been explored. The ARIES studies archive can be found here.

The most recent FESS studies have examined the Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF) as a break-in step to the fusion nuclear regime, liquid metal plasma-facing components, and a deeper exploration of several aspects of the FNSF.

A new program-wide activity to explore the fusion pilot plant—which is set to begin operation in the 2040s—, will commence in the near future, as described in the Division of Plasma Physics – Community Planning Process and subsequent FESAC Powering the Future: Fusion and Plasmas reports.